Removing the Crown of Self-Deception
BY: CLAIR ANNA ROSE
We lie to ourselves. Over and over again throughout the day without even a pause to consider Is it true?
We lie over and over until it becomes true for us, and while this could be a useful method to create something beautiful in our lives, we often unwittingly abuse our own power by affirming what we don’t want.
My knees are weak, I just can’t ________. My heart’s not strong enough. I’m too old for that. I’m out of shape. I can’t do the math. It will take too long. It will cost too much. I can’t afford it.
Check out your thoughts for one day and notice how many times you stop yourself from imagining a new way of life, snap yourself out of a daydream, shoot down an idea, or criticize yourself for daring to think for just one moment you could do something differently or be something greater.
I have weak knees, I thought as I skated around the ice. I can’t believe I used to be able to do that! I lamented as I watched younger skaters spinning and jumping.
For some reason over the last ten or so years, since I stopped competing in figure skating competitions, I adopted the belief that it was unsafe for me to skate the way I used to. I had taken a couple of solid years off and thought of myself as a “recreational skater.”
When I started skating again I purposefully purchased a type of boot built specifically for ice dancers and not designed for landing jumps over a single rotation. I was told it would be safe enough for a single axel at most, but not to attempt doubles in these boots.
I felt like it was a safeguard against myself. I was, after all, 24 years old and “too old” for such nonsense anyway.
So I began to skate again, taking it easy. Never attempting much, never daring to go beyond what I used to do. I ruled out certain motions and moves — deeming them unsafe for my “weak knees.”
Did I ever have a diagnosis of official “weak knees?” No. It was just something I told myself and decided figure skating wouldn’t improve the stability of the joint and it was better to stay away.
Fast-forward eight years to today. I’m skating on the ice and I’m feeling really good. A song comes on the iPod that I skated to at the last competition I competed in at age 18 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The music makes me feel as inspired now as it did then, my body remembers and snaps to attention. Suddenly something shifts. I feel just like I did at age 18. I feel strong, balanced, and graceful, and each stroke is so full of power I find myself flying across the ice and going through combos seamlessly that I haven’t tried in 10 years.
I start to feel brave. What if I tried some spins I haven’t done in a really long time?
It’s like the dirty water that comes out of the hose when you first turn it on. But I remind myself that even when I was the best I had ever been there were always bad spins and good spins. I keep trying. Layback, camel, sit spin, back spin. Over and over. I start layering spins. It’s fun and it’s work, and sometimes I send myself flying wildly off center and other times I am centered and still as the rink whirls around me.
There is no coach telling me I can’t spend my whole practice time working on spins.
I’m about to go home. There are five minutes left on the clock and I decide to take some slow laps to cool down. To stretch my low back I drop into a low squat with my knees bent all the way and my hips sinking low.
I feel like a little kid and remember a move we used to do called “Shoot the Duck.” Your balancing leg is bent all the way in a squat while the other leg is stretched out in front as you glide across the ice.
I have weak knees, I think. I wouldn’t be able to get back up. I’m not flexible enough for this anymore.
I do a couple more of the deep squats and then think, but what if I can get back up? And what if I can’t? So what? My butt is three inches off the ice. If I fall it won’t hurt.
I gain some speed and give it a few tries, still timid to go lower than the point where I know I can get back up again. Finally, only two minutes left I decide to stop being so timid and sink my hips as low as I can, and extend my right leg out slowly. My left knee feels fine, I find my balance, I extend my leg to the full expression of the move and find myself gliding with ease, holding steady. When I’ve had enough I rise back up to stand and let out a little “whoop!”
I skate around doing my newfound move over and over, sometimes standing up with ease, sometimes sliding across the ice on my bum, and smiling the whole time.
There’s one minute left. What if I can do this in a spin? I wonder, and without any doubt, I wind myself into the spin and sink low. The fun of this spin, “The Cannonball” is the action of bending your torso low over the extended leg makes you gain speed as you condense yourself. It had the effect of making me feel like I’m on the teacup ride at Disneyland and I just got my cup spinning really fast and I can no longer control it.
Until the moment the Zamboni doors open to signal the end of session, I drop into Cannonball spins with abandon — sometimes spinning so fast I can’t hold myself together and end up spinning on my behind.
I leave the ice covered in ice shavings, cheeks rosy, smiling and feeling as if I’m that same girl who first got her cannonball spin 20 years ago.
Today I no longer need to lie to myself. I don’t have weak knees. I had a weak will. I had weak faith in myself. For one hour, I was able to break out of the lie I told myself for years.
I have strong, flexible knees. I am courageous.
It’s time we stop lying to ourselves. It’s time to start asking, Is it true? And if it isn’t, telling our own doubt, That isn’t true for me!
Maybe it won’t take that long, or maybe it’s worth the wait. Maybe it’s okay if I try it and it doesn’t work out. Maybe I can start something new. Maybe I am qualified for the job. Maybe I could be really good at this.
I’ve told myself lies for so long about things I don’t want. I’ve done it for so long and discouraged so many dreams.
I want to tell myself things I desire that aren’t true yet and I want to believe them. I want to tell myself what I want to be true and tell it again and again until it IS true. I want to remove the crown of self-deception and be courageous enough to say, “It’s OK if I fall! It’s not that far to go. I can get back up again.”
Clair has been dubbed by friends “The Girl Who Must Do Everything!” She enjoys playing/writing music, dance, creating art in myriad forms, teaching/practicing yoga, collecting miniatures and writing.